Heading into the final three games of the regular season, the Waynesburg women’s basketball team will have no easy contests down the stretch with three Presidents’ Athletic Contest match-ups, beginning this Saturday with a trip to Latrobe, Pennsylvania to take on the first-place St. Vincent Bearcats (18-4, 12-1).
Head coach Sam Jones realizes that facing a Bearcats team for a second time won’t be an easy task, especially on the road.
“They’ll be prepared for our new defensive philosophies. So, we’re going to have to be better at it,” said Jones. “They’ll have their leading scorer back, which will be a little more difficult for us, it’s another good player for us to guard.”
In the first meeting between these teams Jan. 9, the Yellow Jackets (7-15, 5-8) fell by just five points, 69-64. Freshman Haley Porter led Waynesburg in a second half comeback, scoring 15 points that night.
“We were still trying to find our identity as a team,” said Jones. “We started the game not playing well, getting down 20 [points] then we switched up our defense and did some good things on offense. Haley hit some big shots for us, as well as some others, and we got it down to two with under a minute to go.”
That night, Waynesburg switched to the zone defense and according to Jones, has been able to work and use the zone effectively since that game Jan. 9.
The Bearcats also out-rebounded Waynesburg 43-38 and the Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 20 times in the five-point loss.
On the offensive side of the ball, this contest will feature two of the top five scorers in the PAC in sophomores Madison Kollar (St. Vincent) and Andrea Orlosky (Waynesburg).
“Andrea is an interesting offensive player because she is difficult to stop in that she gets a lot of what I like to call ‘dirty buckets,’” said Jones. “At least half of her points are [by] hard-work, hustle. [And] ‘dirty buckets’ are hard to game plan against and take away.”
Jones recognizes Kollar as a scoring threat but believes that she’s just another reason for his squad to tighten up defensively.
“We’ve got to make sure every shot she takes is a contested shot and that we box her out,” said Jones.
With the regular season winding down and Waynesburg still able to climb up the PAC standings, Jones said the team just needs to continue to work and grow.
“We have to take it one game at a time, and not worry about anything other than this Saturday,” said Jones. “And being the best version of us. We have to go day-to-day and try to be the best version while slightly improving that best version of us as we roll towards the end of the season.”
Following Saturday’s game, Waynesburg will host Thiel next Wednesday before finishing the regular season at Bethany College Feb. 16. Tip-off between St. Vincent and Waynesburg is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.